Works from Workshop Writers

The Lake County Virtual Writers’ Circle was created in September 2020 as a way for local writers to stay connected and continue sharing work with each other during the COVID pandemic. Writers from across the United States have also joined us. Below are selected works from some of the circle’s regular attendees. Over the course of our virtual gatherings, we have shared work for positive critique and feedback, revised our work, and have written new work.

In Memory of Xian Yeagan
~ May 26, 1944 – Aug. 1, 2017

This page is also in honor of the late Xian Yeagan, who as a beloved artist and community member, was LCAC’s Webmaster for many years in which he shared the work of many local writers via this very website; including the current Poet Laureate when she was just a young, shy teen. Xian will always be remembered for his artistry, kind spirit, and encouragement and support of other artists and writers.

Clutter

by Pamela Bordisso


“The mind can be like our home’s garage after 30 years of residency.” T, Little, The Practice is the Path

Drawer stuffed full of socks
Socks upon socks
Wool hiking socks
Socks that used to be worn at work
Slinky black socks
Stained sports socks
Expensive blue ones that always
Annoyingly
Slip down into the shoe
The ones missing mates that
I hold onto with hope
Socks upon socks

Head stuffed full of thoughts
Thoughts upon thoughts
Middle of the night activity
How to help during covid?
Shame for what I once said to my boy
Regret for what I never said to my mother
Guilt for the past mistakes
as a young teacher, a mother, a wife
Over and over
Stale, old, repetitive grief
Thoughts upon thoughts
Held onto more firmly than socks

Shelf buckling under weight
Sweaters and nubby sweatshirts
Soft cashmere
Overstretched sleeves,
Burnt orange with scratchy neck,
The too short cardigan in a favorite forrest green
The wrong colors, wrong fit
Maybe they’ll come back into style?
Too many, too heavy
Sweaters upon sweaters
That I might need

Head bulging with dark angst
Fears upon fears
Worrying about the future
What are we doing to the planet?
The health of their unborn baby
The oaks gripped with sudden death
Pines plagued by bark beetles
Wildfires bigger every year
Absence of rain
Smoke in our lungs and eyes
Floods washing away children
World temperatures rising
Why are we so divided
when all life is in peril?
Sleep and dream space exiled in
This heavy thickness
Fears upon fears

They say, “If it doesn’t bring joy, toss it”
Unappreciated socks,
Sweaters that no longer fit,
Sticky tupperware without lids,
Stacks of books
All released in the
“letting go” trend.
So much easier to chuck things
than pare down
the sentimental prison of
Memories and worries
The pulses of a lifetime
Un joyful brain accumulation
Hard to empty
Drawers of stories
Shelves of history
Clutter of humanness
This dissent that rocks
Any hope of a quiet mind

Ally?

by Beulah Vega


God,
              I am so tired.
I am so tired of being 
              The brown sacrificial lamb
Amongst 
              The educated liberal elite.
I am tired of being 
              The Token.
I am tired of being
              Just the living, breathing, 
                       Symbol
              Of your superior morality.
I am tired of your assurances,
              Of respect and equality;
That always come
              On your terms.

I am tired
            Of your support.
I am tired of 
            Your support that 
                Evaporates,
             Like cigar smoke,
Leaving only 
             A lingering stench, 
             And a slight stain.
I am tired of the next new cause,
             The next new fight,

I am tired of listening 
          To liberal 
                     ROARS 
          Of indignation,
That drown out the child
                      Crying
          Beside them.

I have been tired
           For.  So.  Long.
I have been tired 
           Since I was 4-years old
When I watched,
           With my mixed-blood, 
           All-American eyes,
As my cousin,
           Nine. Months. Pregnant.
           Was physically forced 
           On a bus,
While her
           Two-year-old; 
           Mixed-blood; 
           All-American; 
           Brown child;
                       Screamed, 
In my mother’s 
           White arms.
Where was your roar of indignation then?

How can I help?
How can I help,
             You’ve asked 
                        A million times.
            How can I be, 
            An ally?
            You like that word 
		     Ally.
You, rage 
Against the immoral and harmful,
           Then you go buy your rainbow shirts, 
           Made by Indonesian 
                       Children
From Target.  

 You Protest!
Against, unfair and un-equal laws,
Then you line up at the taco truck
           Quibbling about the price,
           And questioning the hygiene
	               Of all those involved
	               As you eye
                       The group of teenage boys, 
           Whose dark hair
                       Glints
In the same sun that you 
           Mistakenly thinks, 
Powers your car.

You March!
Against injustice 
            And for humanitarianism!
But you march around,
          Giving a wide berth
 	  To the homeless man
 	             Who, though
		     He served your country,
 			        Can’t. Afford. His. Meds.


So Please,
	   My dear
   Liberal
   Friends
My Allies,
Leave me out of your 
           Go-fund-me, 
                   Feel-good, 
March around the capitol,
Followed by fundraising margaritas 
And complementary
            Tequila tasting,
Served by women 
	     In the faux lace blouses
		         Of a conquered
                          Peasant class.
I refuse 
To reduce people
Into mere
Political Pawns.

I am still tired
I am still, 
            So,
                       Tired, 
But I can’t rest.
Because when this political climate changes
When 
            The next
            Humanitarian crisis 
            Has caught your fickle eye,
When 
            The next 
            Well-meaning petition 
            Comes across your feed 
And when your friends 
           Jump in their hybrids 
           To form the next 
                     Committee
I will still be here.
           Like I have 
                       Always been
Actually living the fight.

The Day We Stopped at the Met

by Joshua Barnes


There was snow in the forecast,
The day we stopped at the Met
Because we had nothing to do –
Lunch behind us and dinner so far ahead –
And no better way to keep our red noses
And gloveless hands warm.
We roved amongst the paintings and statues,
And as we stopped at the foot of the statue of Hercules,
Sweating from the radiant heat of the milling bodies
Who had all decided to stop into the Met as well,
Commenting on the musculature of his bare chest,
The veins and tendons of his feet,
The first flakes fell on the grass of Central Park.